Today's River Lesson: Look for the Good

I wrote to a dear friend earlier today, and shared with her that I am currently in a "contractive" phase in my life...

Anusara Yoga is based on a very sophisticated system of Tantra philosophy, which embraces the key aspects of all Tantric teachings. John Friend, the founder of Anusara, aptly calls it - Shiva-Shakti Tantra.

In this school of thought, we acknowledge that everything is pulsation - and as such, there is an expansive aspect - and a contractive one - in everything that is vibratory. This is particularly evidenced when as instructors, we invite our students to engage and hug in (Muscular Energy) - in order to expand and shine out (Organic Energy).

But this does not just apply to our yoga practice - it directly affects all other areas of our lives as well...One is not better than the other - it just simply is. And we cannot have or experience one - without the other as well. Truly, every experience of contraction contains within it the seed for expansion - and vice versa.

So, this last month, I have been sidelined by infections, exhausted by medications, and over-exerting myself on several levels - thus experiencing a contractive phase physically, emotionally, and spiritually...

I went down to the river for a short while this morning, as a way to escape where I found myself, and also because it had already been a couple of weeks since my last visit. It was hot, humid, and the water table was visibly low in spots. At times, I was a mere few inches from the river bed. I had also forgotten how unpleasant paddling can be in July. The warm weather and waters creates a breeding ground for the hydrilla, which are literally choking the river at this time of year. There are patches of green here and there on the surface of the river, and I know that soon those patches will overtake a good portion of the surface. I realized that the river too, was in its contractive phase - and was not at its best or most beautiful...

Yet, these phases are important. They invite introspection. They afford one with an opportunity to re-group. All those days I simply laid in bed too tired to do anything else, I read books for pleasure - something I had not done in a long time! I wasn't just reading to prepare for a class or a workshop. I was reading books that were sensual and that were a feast for my senses - sometimes I read and re-read a sentence as if it were the first mouthful of an exquisite wine I were tasting for the first time - enjoying every subtle and nuanced flavor, delicately unlocked, as I swirled it around my tongue. Ah!

I also had the time to consider issues I needed to address in my life as well...

Yesterday, I went to take my yoga class with my wonderful teacher, for the first time in weeks, and it was a delicious class consisting of a gentle flow, some Yoga Nidra, and a couple of restoratives. It was just what the doctor ordered, and I was thrilled to be back just being a student.

On the way home, a friend I had taken to class and I, discussed how tired I had been feeling - not only physically, but in other ways as well. I shared with her that I had recently been re-setting needed boundaries in various relationships. This wise soul also noted that we must set boundaries in how much we give away for it can be depleting as well. We discussed how money is an energy exchange and at times, we need to decide how much to give, and for how long, and determine when an energy exchange is appropriate, which is something not always easy for me to do.

In this generally more contractive phase that I am currently experiencing, I am still reminded to look for the good in it. It is something that John Friend tells his students over and over again, practically every time I have studied with him. And it is something we need to remind ourselves of, over and over again as well. Such a simple thing - yet so hard to do at times!

There is certainly a lesson in everything that we experience. A contractive period helps us prepare for more expansive ones. The river too, will be swelling its banks later in the year, and it will be a delight to paddle in the coming fall season when the air is crisper.

There is an ebb and flow to everything that is normal - and there is more fluidity that is available to us if we avoid resisting what is. So wherever you are today, look for the good. There is an opportunity wrapped up in every obstacle - no matter how insurmountable. Look for the good in it. In ever challenge, is the seed for change - and for radical transformation and for growth as well. So - look for the good!


kayakgal said…
So true, Olga. Thank you so much for sharing. I too have been feeling a bit discombulated as of late. i.e. losing my job, suffering severe pain blah blah blah. I am trying very hard to fing the good in this contractual period. You have made it so very clear.
Olga Rasmussen said…
I think a lot of people are going through this contractive phase right now - so at least - we are in good company! Blessings to you!
Matrika said…
Thanks for acknowledging the potential within contracted states - its regularly traveled terrain for me and I currently find myself in another. These times can draw exquisite insights and return us to the first principle, to open to what is and look for the good. Love your blog, thanks again!
From the Sydney Australia Kula!
Olga Rasmussen said…
So beautifully put! Blessings to the Australia Kula! Olga

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